Mission and Ministry Newsletter
Mission and Ministry, under the oversight of the Vice President for Mission and Ministry, encompasses the Office of Campus Ministry, including Law Center and Medical Center Campus Ministry, and the Office of Mission and Pastoral Care at Georgetown Hospital. In addition, the Office of the Vice President promotes the Ignatian heritage, Catholic identity and Jesuit mission of the university, through programs and retreats engaging students, faculty, administrators, staff, the Board of Directors, the Board of Regents, alumni and donors in the understanding and practice of our religious identity, values and commitments.
I recently returned from Rome, where I accompanied President DeGioia on his annual visit to meet with various officials and colleagues at the Vatican and the Jesuit curia. The trip reminded me about how much Georgetown, often in quiet ways, is connected to the work of the Church and the Jesuits around the world. Thanks to President DeGioia's leadership over a decade, Georgetown is actively involved in projects ranging from ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, peace building, engagement with nonbelievers, Catholic higher education in lesser-developed nations and social justice initiatives.
My visit to Rome also reminded me about the importance of our sacred spaces, not just as places to worship, but as symbols of who we are as a university. On my walks through the Eternal City, I marveled at the variety of churches seemingly on every corner. Their architecture and interior design invite the pray-er or the passerby to marvel at the transcendent in our midst. The silence and peace of those spaces are a respite from our noisy, hectic life.
At Georgetown, we are blessed with sacred spaces that proudly speak to our religious mission. Dahlgren Chapel, now under renovation, remains the spiritual heart of our campus. The chapel in Copley Crypt offers an almost monastic setting for Orthodox Christian prayers and a popular, nightly weekday Roman Catholic Mass. On the Copley ground floor is our Muslim Prayer Room, where students gather regularly for their individual daily prayers; weekly Jum'ah (congregational) prayers are held in a multipurpose space in Leavey Center, as the Muslim Prayer Room is not large enough. Upstairs in Copley, St. William's Chapel is our primary worship space for our Protestant community. Our Jewish students gather and pray in temporary space in the Leavey Center. In addition to these spaces, we support chapels in the Med Center, hospital and Law Center.
We need your help in maintaining these sacred spaces. Please consider a gift to the Dahlgren Chapel fund, or to the Protestant chaplaincy to support much-needed renovations of St. William's. We have an opportunity to create an interfaith prayer center in Leavey, which would feature a new and larger Muslim prayer space, a permanent Jewish gathering place, an interfaith chapel and a common kitchen and space for socializing. To realize that dream of prayer space in the midst of our main student center, we need your help.
As I conclude my first year in this position entrusted to me, I thank you for your encouragement, your support and your prayers.
Rev. Kevin O'Brien, S.J. (C'88)
Office of the Vice President
- Update on the Restoration of Dahlgren Chapel
- Ignatian Adventure Wins Excellence in Publishing Award
Office of Campus Ministry
- Georgetown Students Learn Where a Jesuit Education Should Lead Them
- Students Trace the Migrant Experience on the Arizona/Mexico Border
- Student Leaders Reflect on ESCAPE First-Year Program
- Residential Ministry: Cura Personalis in the Residence Halls
Catholic Campus Ministry
- Catholic Chaplaincy's Newest Staff Contribute to Another Successful Year
- Music Ministry in the Catholic Chaplaincy
- Georgetown Welcomes New Members into Church at Easter Vigil
- The Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life: Georgetown's Identity in Action
Protestant Campus Ministry
- Protestant Chaplaincy Says Goodbye to the Class of 2012
Jewish Campus Ministry
- Why on This Night Do We Eat Chocolate?
Muslim Campus Ministry
- Muslim Chaplaincy Sets the Tone for September
Orthodox Campus Ministry
- A Greater and Expanded Presence
Medical Center Ministry
- Mass Honors Contributions of Anatomical Donors
Law Center Ministry
- Chaplains in Balance
- Supporting Mission and Ministry
- Upcoming Events
Update on the Restoration of Dahlgren Chapel
By James Wickman, Ph.D., Director of Music and Liturgy
Restoration work on Dahlgren Chapel has moved into a new phase of heavy construction on the chapel foundation. This work involves the placement of supports underpinning the chapel, ensuring a strong new foundation. The entire foundation will be dug out as part of this process. As this work progresses, it will be necessary to close the chapel at times during the week. For example, from July 2 to Aug. 24, the 12:10pm daily Mass will take place in Copley Crypt Chapel instead of Dahlgren. This closure affects only the weekdays during this time period. The chapel will remain open for weekend services, including weddings, baptisms and Sunday Masses.
Throughout this exterior construction process, every effort has been made to continue the robust liturgical life that happens each weekend in Dahlgren Chapel. We are happy to report that none of this construction work will have any effect on the weekend services. We regret that the daily Mass will move out of Dahlgren for this short time, but it is best both for the construction process and for the prayerfulness of the Mass itself.
Finally, the stained glass windows will be returned to the chapel after the heavy construction work is complete. They have been cleaned and restored to their original beauty, and will be reinstalled with new protective glass exteriors on each one. We look forward to their return, especially the rose window above the main entrance.
This work will help ensure that Dahlgren Chapel is in the best shape to serve the worship needs of the university community for generations to come.
Ignatian Adventure Wins Excellence in Publishing Award
The Association of Catholic Publishers named Rev. Kevin O'Brien, S.J.'s The Ignatian Adventure: the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Every Day Life one of the top new books on spirituality released this year. The book guides readers through the basics of the spiritual exercises and offers direction to individuals as well as those leading people through them.
Georgetown Students Learn Where a Jesuit Education Should Lead Them
By Jennie Reis, Director of Catholic Retreats and Immersion Programs
One of the many joys I have as director of Catholic Retreats and Immersion Programs is that I am gifted with the opportunity to spend five months of the academic year preparing a delegation of Georgetown students to travel to El Salvador. Also accompanying us is Rev. Patrick Rogers, S.J., director of Campus Ministry for the Main Campus and Catholic Chaplaincy director. This year, we challenged 11 students to forgo a spring break in the Bahamas or one of the other popular spring break locations and come experience "the magis," the Ignatian ideal of "the more" in El Salvador. They understood that they were being asked to travel to a third-world country and "go deeper," experience a different culture, witness the challenges faced by marginalized communities and pay close attention to their feelings and experiences and to the relationships they were to make with people of El Salvador.
After five months of dedicated fundraising and learning about the history and culture of El Salvador, the Georgetown delegation took off and was warmly welcomed by our host families in a little campo in Santa Monica. Amber Rybnick (C'14) explains: "I learned so much from our delegation's stay in El Salvador that it is difficult for me to even articulate. Living in Santa Monica for a few days, I was greatly moved by the community members' profound appreciation for simplicity and their unwavering generosity with both one another and us." Andrea Price (C'14) goes on to say, "We lived with them, using their no-flush toilets, maybe sleeping inside a house with tarps for walls, bathing by pouring water over our head…but it did not really matter because our families were so welcoming and loving! We danced with them, toured their village, sang with them, met with their leaders, played soccer with them and swam with them."
The soccer game was a favorite of Amber's. "My most memorable and meaningful moment in El Salvador came during a friendly soccer game one evening in Santa Monica. At one point, I was no longer playing soccer, but instead playing games with a group of 15 or so El Salvadorian children. As I struggled to understand the many different voices trying to explain the rules to me in a foreign language, one girl hushed the others and exclaimed, '¡Mira!' meaning, 'Watch!' She and the rest of the children then proceeded to show me through example how the game was to be played and what role I was to fill. In that moment, I realized how arbitrary borders and barriers are. Here I was in a foreign country surrounded by people I hardly knew talking in a language I barely spoke, but everything still made complete sense. Despite our differences (or our supposed differences), the children saw me for who I really was: a fun-loving, aspiring teacher who is just a big kid at heart herself. The language barrier disappeared; geographical borders vanished. There was just us, and through this moment the concept of solidarity became ever so clear to me. I wasn't standing in solidarity with El Salvadorian strangers as an outside third party. Instead, I was standing in solidarity with my fellow human beings, who, in the end, were a whole lot more similar to me than I could ever have imagined."
After saying our goodbyes to the community in Santa Monica, we arrived in San Salvador, where we had the privilege of meeting with representatives from the various political parties in El Salvador and learned the details surrounding their impending election. In addition, we listened to the arguments against mining in El Salvador and learned about the movement to grant U.S. residency to Salvadorians who have been stuck in the temporary protective status (TPS) system.
No immersion trip to El Salvador would be complete without spending significant time hearing personal stories regarding the civil war that ended in 1992 and visiting sites commemorating those affected by the war. Such places included Archbishop Óscar Romero's house and the chapel where he was assassinated; the Monument to Memory and Truth, honoring those killed during the war; the University of Central America, where six Jesuits and two women were martyred; and the site where four American churchwomen were martyred.
As Andrea concluded, "By learning about the sacrifices people made for each other during the civil war, and by seeing the sacrifices Salvadorans make for each other each and every day, we all were given a greater sense of where a Jesuit education should lead us: to be men and women for others. As students, we learned about issues that we ourselves could get involved with, such as TPS legislation and mining activism. As people, we learned about how strong we really are and we discovered a little more about what we really care about and what we love."
Gifts from donors provided the funds to match what the student participants raised to cover their travel costs.
Students Trace the Migrant Experience on the Arizona/Mexico Border
By Lara Ericson, Office Manager
This past spring break, Rev. Kevin O'Brien, S.J., Zenen Jaimes (F'13) and I accompanied 11 students on an immersion trip to the Arizona/Mexico border. The MAGIS Kino Border Initiative trip, a joint effort of the Office of Campus Ministry and the Center for Social Justice, is in its second year. This trip was made possible through donor support.
For the majority of the students participating in the Kino Border Immersion, this trip was their first encounter with the border between the United States and Mexico. Some had already been heavily involved in immigration issues, while others were drawn to the trip out of a desire to explore something completely new. One common desire resonated when participants were asked what they hoped to gain from the trip: a human, personal perspective on the deeply complex issues surrounding immigration.
Throughout the week, we met with many individuals and organizations in some way involved with or affected by immigration, thereby gaining diverse, informative and distinctly personal perspectives. Led by staff from Jesuit Refugee Services, we explored paths typically used by migrants on their treacherous journey through the Arizona desert. We celebrated Mass at a small parish in the nearby ranching community of Arivaca, Ariz., and spoke with the parishioners there, who shared with us their fear of the drug cartels operating in the area and their dual concern for their safety and for the safety of those crossing the border to look for work.
We had the opportunity to cross the border into Nogales, Mexico, where we visited a soup kitchen for recent deportees. There we listened to the stories of men and women separated from their homes and families in search of better work. Some had just made their first attempt to cross the border into the United States, while others had lived in the United States for years before their sudden deportation. Their pain was heartbreaking to observe, but we were consoled by the compassion and dedication demonstrated by the sisters running the soup kitchen.
In order to inform ourselves about the legal process surrounding immigration and deportation, we attended Operation Streamline, a program that prosecutes large numbers of undocumented immigrants at once, and toured the Florence Detention Center, where many of these migrants are held before deportation.
Despite the immense hardship we witnessed, we were inspired by the many ways in which the Catholic Church has committed itself to caring for the marginalized in Southern Arizona. We met with the Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, bishop of Tucson, who discussed with us the many ways in which religious organizations cooperate to care for the well-being of immigrants in southern Arizona. Two religious sisters who serve as chaplains to the Florence Detention Center provided us their perspective on their role, which they described as walking alongside the migrants, accompanying them during an undeniably difficult period in their lives.
Given a sense of purpose and urgency by what they learned at the border, students returned to campus eager to stay involved. They collaborated with other Alternative Spring Break trip participants in a weeklong series of events called "Nothing Human is Alien to Me," designed to share the personal stories of the migrants we met with the Georgetown community. Several months after our trip, students continue to reach out to serve the immigrant community in Washington, DC and engage in advocacy for immigration reform.
The Kino Border Immersion was a memorable and influential experience for all, and we are immensely grateful for the support that made it possible.
Student Leaders Reflect on ESCAPE First-Year Program
By Bridget Sherry, Director of ESCAPE
Each year ESCAPE is served by dedicated student leaders, who work as student coordinators of the program alongside the ESCAPE director to ensure the smooth running of the program and formational development of 35 to 40 student team leaders. The student coordinators play an important role in the program, providing mentorship to both first-year student participants and upper-class team leaders. Having participated in ESCAPE as first-year students and later as team leaders, incoming student coordinators Magda Buczek (C'13) and Sean Huang (F'14) bring numerous gifts to the program in the upcoming academic year. Below are their reflections on what ESCAPE has meant to them and their hopes for the year ahead.
A Space for Reflection
In the midst of all the changes and shifts that occur during the first year of college, Georgetown students are often scared to admit their struggles or ask for help. I remember going through the motions of freshman year, clutching my loneliness and homesickness tightly inside me, afraid to expose those emotions because it seemed that everyone else was adjusting smoothly. I felt like I was the only one who wasn't fully happy at Georgetown, and so I said nothing and hoped those feelings would dissolve. (Magda Buczek)
ESCAPE, as its name suggests, is about escaping from the stresses and pressures that often burden us in our lives. However, it is also about delving into a new community of friends who are there to support you and, more importantly, to help you grow as an individual through dialogue and reflection. (Sean Huang)
I decided to go on an ESCAPE overnight in February of my freshman year, and that's when my life at Georgetown shifted in the right direction—towards a feeling of community. My fellow first-year classmates let the walls that they had spent all semester working so hard to build up come crashing down. There was reflection and conversation on those feelings of alienation and longing which many of us felt. I experienced a sacred moment when the other first-year students and I felt safe enough to let our bursting hearts break in order to expose those true feelings and worries. (Magda Buczek)
As a student coordinator, my role is to support the team leaders as they plan recruiting events and lead the actual overnights. I also assist with administrative/logistical duties and other behind-the-scenes work. As with everyone involved with ESCAPE, ultimately I am a resource, peer and friend who is there for the students. (Sean Huang)
I am excited about all aspects of ESCAPE, but I am particularly looking forward to hearing the reflections of the students. ESCAPE is centered on a series of talks given by the team leaders and subsequent small-group reflections, and I believe these reflections offer an incredible amount of insight and perspective. (Sean Huang)
I feel honored that next year I will be able to facilitate and bear witness to these sacred moments of honesty and vulnerability. I hope to be a resource for first-years to turn to for advice, help and reassurance. I hope to give back to the ESCAPE program what I received from it—a sense of belonging and home. I cannot imagine a better way to spend my senior year. (Magda Buczek)
Residential Ministry: Cura Personalis in the Residence Halls
By Michelle Siemietkowski, Director of Residential Ministry
It's Thursday night on Georgetown's campus. Students are running from class to club meeting, facing paper deadlines and final exams. The stress can get high at all points in the semester.
Just when the stress might feel too overwhelming, the students open their emails and see a note from their Chaplains-in-Residence and Jesuits-in-Residence (CIRs/JIRs):
"Weekly Cookie Night tonight 6:30-8PM, chaplain's apartment, Brownie Cookies! These last two weeks have been so much fun, can't wait to see you tonight."
The students feel a weight lifted and look forward to having a fun study break with their friends and the chaplain who lives down the hall.
The weekly emails that our Chaplains-in-Residence and Jesuits-in-Residence send to their students are a great example of Georgetown's Jesuit ideal of cura personalis: caring for each individual person in his or her own needs.
Here are some other examples of such emails from the CIRs/JIRs:
I want you to know that I am praying for you: for your health, for peace in your lives and for you to receive the gift of perseverance as you encounter the most burdensome time of your semester. If you want me to pray for anything specific, just let me know!
Secondly, please know that we chaplains are here to help you in any way we can. We would love to meet up with you to chat, either about pressing issues in your lives—whatever they are—or simply to get to know you.
Thanks for bringing the beautiful weather back from Spring Break with you!
We're on for Brownie Night at 7:30 tonight. First batch is already done and the fourth floor will soon be filled with the lovely aroma as I continue baking this afternoon. Stop by for a moment or to stay and hang out. We'll have hummus, carrots & crackers for those of you who do not prefer brownies.
I know many of you have just come through exams or are still in the thick of them. Please take good care of yourselves and let me know if there's anything I can do for you.
Greetings Copley Residents!
Spring has arrived, with an abundance of colorful blossoms cheering up our days. Still, allergies or a swell of projects to complete may well feel like an excess of sap.
Not to worry. Great opportunities to break free from agitation and anxieties await us:
Tonight, as every Monday, enjoy a Pause with Fellow Hoyas:
Sounds of Silence: Quiet meditation (at 10PM) followed by lively conversations around treats until 11:30PM
Feel free to step in or out at any time, Copley 226
Looking forward to seeing many of you this week,
Peace and Joy,
Chaplain-in-Residence Anne-Elisabeth | Copley 226
P.S. Your Copley Chaplains and Jesuit in residence are available to all and any of you for spiritual and personal support. Should you or a friend have an urgent need for assistance or pastoral care, remember that you can always reach a Chaplain on call on campus at 202.677.0361.
Rooted in its Catholic, Jesuit ideals of love and service to all, Georgetown University has committed resources to the Residential Ministry program so that our Chaplains-in-Residence and Jesuits-in-Residents can continue to care for our students, one soul at a time.
Catholic Chaplaincy's Newest Staff Contribute to Another Successful Year
By Rev. Patrick Rogers, S.J., Catholic Chaplaincy Director and Director of Campus Ministry for Main Campus
The Catholic Chaplaincy had another amazing and blessed semester. Mass attendance is still as strong as it ever was. Our Sunday Masses are filled, with many of them standing-room-only. Our 10 p.m. Copley Crypt Mass continues to draw the faithful with an average attendance of 25 people a night. The Catholic Student Association (soon to be GU Catholics) has seen a resurgence under the leadership of Francis Leung (C'13). They planned social events once a month after the Sunday Masses that help bring students together in celebration. The Catholic Daughters and Knights of Columbus continue their great work as they reach out to both the Georgetown community and those outside Healy Gates. Our Knights are consistently regarded as one of the finest councils in the nation, leading young men into a deeper understanding of their faith—a faith that does service. Under outgoing President Allison Masserano, (C'12) the Catholic Daughters have been blessed with rising numbers of young women fully engaged in their faith.
Jennie Reis, our first-year director of Catholic Retreats and Immersion Programs, led us with renewed vigor and grace. Our Agape retreats were successful, as was Spiritual Refreshment. This year's Senior Retreat was the largest in memory, with more than 70 seniors participating!
One of the many great contributions Jennie made to our department this year was her leadership of the Magis Immersion Program to El Salvador this past spring break. She led a group of 11 Hoyas on a powerful trip of mutual understanding and trust. We encountered once again our friends from Santa Monica, a small rural town in southern El Salvador, and spent three days with them reconnecting and sharing our lives and faith. We even had a dance party thrown for us! Our fearless leader wasn't even ruffled when she woke up one morning amidst a bunch of farm animals that had found their way into her room! Thank you, Jennie, for a wonderful year.
As you know from our last update, Jim Wickman, Director of Music and Liturgy, has guided our worship this year with much skill and grace. He led us through the transition to the revised translation this past fall and has been integral in the plans for the renewal of Dahlgren Chapel. We congratulate Jim, as he just completed his Ph.D. from Catholic University this past spring. We are proud of you, Jim, and excited about the all the good things that you will help us discover in the liturgy in the years to come.
This spring the LGBTQ Catholic Prayer Group teamed up with the Catholic Daughters to go on a pilgrimage to Emmitsburg, Md., to visit the Elizabeth Anne Seton Shrine. Mother Seton was the first native-born American to be canonized. We visited the shrine and had a tour that ended with Mass in the Basilica. We then had a lovely picnic on the grounds of the shrine. Since the famed battlefield of Gettysburg is so close to Emmitsburg, we took a quick detour to that hallowed place. The LGBTQ Catholic Prayer group continues to grow, as we added a number of freshmen to our ranks. This group meets every other week for prayer, spiritual discussion, fellowship and Sacraments.
In March, the former Master of the Dominican Order, Timothy Radcliffe, spent some time with our students one memorable evening. He first hosted a quiet dinner with six seniors at the Jesuit Residence. Father Radcliffe then presented each senior with a signed copy of his book Seven Last Words. After dinner, our seniors joined other Hoyas in Riggs Library for an evening of public discourse with Father Radcliffe. Each senior spoke briefly about where he or she has experienced light in the Church and where each has found challenges. Topics ranged from the role of women in the Church to the role of faith and its intersection with science to how gay Catholics are to live the Gospel. Father Radcliffe listened to all and then responded as a body giving very thoughtful and insightful commentary on the state of the Church at the dawn of the 21st century. He then took questions from those in attendance. Afterwards, those gathered enjoyed a lovely reception.
Music Ministry in the Catholic Chaplaincy
By James Wickman, Ph.D., Director of Music and Liturgy
Music is an integral part of the celebration of the liturgy, and it has a central role in Campus Ministry at Georgetown University. Students have several opportunities to be involved in music, from the University Chapel Choir to the 7:30 p.m. Mass Contemporary Choir to the Cantor Program. Throughout it all, we strive to teach the students that all we do with the gifts we have been given in music is done for the Greater Glory of God (AMDG), not for our own benefit. Music in Dahlgren Chapel is first and foremost about the sung prayer, in praise and worship of God.
This past year saw growth in our music program both in numbers and in name. The Chapel Choir and 7:30 p.m. Mass Contemporary Choir welcomed many new members and said goodbye to an excellent class of seniors who graduated in May. They will be greatly missed. One of the most exciting areas of growth has been the Spanish Mass Choir. This choir solidified into a strong music-leading group this year, with new student leadership and many new members. They rehearsed regularly and led the music at the once-monthly Spanish Mass in Dahlgren Chapel with dedication and prayerfulness. This is an area we hope to continue to nurture in the coming years here in Campus Ministry.
As we look forward to the continuing restoration of Dahlgren Chapel, we hope to continue to grow the Music Ministry to bring greater glory to God and help our students and all who attend Masses in Dahlgren Chapel pray through song.
Georgetown Welcomes New Members into Church at Easter Vigil
By Justin Pinn (C'13)
Many graduate and undergraduate students find their faith in a new way while attending Georgetown. Every year, a group enters the Church either as unbaptized inquirers or through those seeking to receive the sacraments beyond baptism. In the last year, through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), we welcomed 27 men and women into the Church.
In my family, religion did not play a huge role in our daily lives; we were not active churchgoers. Personally, I believed in God because I was told to believe in God; however, I never looked at why I believed in God or understood what I believed. This is where coming to Georgetown University comes into play. I remember my first Mass in Dahlgren, and that is where I believe I encountered the Holy Spirit. Thus my journey towards Catholicism began.
During my RCIA process, I was overwhelmed by the diversity in the room. There were so many people from different ages, races, and cultural understandings, and that blew me away and enhanced my experience. Given the makeup of our class, I felt like I was not alone in the journey that I was about to undertake. I learned that throughout all our lives our Lord is always waiting for his children to embrace his love. I became infatuated with the ideas regarding the mystery of faith. This was the main element that was so powerful for me to come to understand throughout my RCIA process. I grew to learn that becoming Catholic is a lifelong practice, that it is not something that can just be obtained by saying a few words or reading a few lines, but that I had to internalize what I believe and put that into work throughout my daily life and my interaction with others.
I truly am very appreciative of Georgetown University because I came here just to receive an education, but next year I will be leaving here with so much more. I believe that is what makes this place so special—it not only challenges you academically, but also challenges you to get to know yourself and find out what you believe. It's simply a magical place. If I had not attended Georgetown, I would not have had amazing conversations surrounding interfaith and religious diversity or talked with the Jesuits about my life and service to others. I would not have had the sacred opportunity to walk through Dahlgren Quad at the Easter Vigil, where I saw a fire, saw friends from all religious backgrounds—including Jews, Muslims and Protestants; my fellow brothers and sisters, my fellow Hoyas. I would not have had the chance to witness the power of the Holy Spirit as I walked to the altar to be received into a new family, the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
The Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life: Georgetown's Identity in Action
By Kevin D. Sullivan (F'14)
This January, Healy Hall was filled with over 700 young high school students, passionate college students and adults of all ages. Men and women from all different faiths, backgrounds and corners of the country came together—not to mention groups from Spain and Australia. These passionate pilgrims, our own Georgetown peers among them, filled the traditional center of our campus for the nation's largest student-run pro-life event, the Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life. The conference is named in memory of the Georgetown alumnus (G'70) and famed pro-life warrior of New York, who in the spirit of Georgetown, as set out by President DeGioia, brought the Church to the world and the world to the Church.
In this same spirit, the Cardinal O'Connor Conference was the truest experience of our alma mater that I have been blessed with so far. It truly exemplifies all that is called for in our Catholic and Jesuit identity, as the Conference is an intellectually engaging and discussion-stimulating gathering of people of all faiths and backgrounds to advocate for human life both at its start and end, those who are defenseless in our society. While other pro-life conferences admirably focus on activism, our conference focuses on education and discussion. We host professors who are leaders in their fields, professionals who are "on the ground" running crisis pregnancy centers and presidents of research centers. We host Catholic clergy who are working to build a "culture of life" through society and politicians who are working to build a "culture of life" through law. It is this holistic approach, cura personalis if you will, that makes the Cardinal O'Connor Conference a truly Georgetown experience. Grounded in its student community but influencing the national discussion on a universal issue, this conference is beyond doubt a tangible representation of the mission of Georgetown University, and I am extremely proud to be a part of it.
Protestant Chaplaincy Says Goodbye to the Class of 2012
By Rev. Bryant Oskvig, Protestant Chaplaincy Director
"I am not only the first person from my family to go to college; I am the first person to graduate. No one ever imagined graduate school for me, and yet, this will be my next adventure. I almost quit several times my freshman year; I was not sure I belonged here. Then, I found my way into St. William Chapel, and I found a home here at Georgetown." (Graduating Student, May 2012)
The chaplaincy has been celebrating the accomplishments and future aspirations of the class of 2012. The recent graduates are going out into the world to industry, government and graduate school; some of these graduates are even headed to seminary at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke and others. Some of the graduates have overcome incredible obstacles to attend Georgetown and to succeed here.
During the final worship services of the semester, the graduating seniors reflected on their time at Georgetown; each of them named a time when the community of faith supported them. These reflections included times of personal tragedy, academic struggle and of discernment. Most poignant were the number of seniors for whom the chaplaincy made the difference in their decisions to stay at Georgetown, and even kept some from dropping out of college all together.
Throughout the year, the Protestant Chaplaincy hosts a number of different programs. Each week witnesses a number of Bible studies, service opportunities and committed times of reflection throughout the chaplaincy. On top of these regular activities, we have a number of special events each semester exploring different aspects of faith. All of our activities are punctuated by and enlivened through the coming together of the community in worship each Sunday. Together we grow in our faith and deepen our relationship with God through these activities, and we get one another as a gift. Bound together as a supportive community of faith, the Protestant community is present throughout a student's time here at Georgetown. We laugh, cry and pray together, and we become a family of faith for each other.
We are grateful to the class of 2012 for being a part of our family.
Why On This Night Do We Eat Chocolate?
By Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Jewish Chaplaincy Director
Why on this night do we eat chocolate?
These were the opening words of the Ma Nishtana sung by over 70 students at our Chocolate Seder 2012! As I commented then, clearly, the haggadah for this evening of chocolate and questions was not written by a woman. Because a woman would never wonder why we eat chocolate—ever! This spring, Georgetown celebrated its second annual chocolate Seder with over twice the number of participants attending than the first. The Jewish Students' Association organized a wonderful Seder, and the Jewish Chaplaincy invited four popular Jewish professors to join in the festivities. It's hard to say which was more of a draw—the chocolate fountain or professors Deborah Tannen (linguistics), Steven Sabat (psychology), Jacques Berlinerblau (SFS) and Jennifer Fink (English). After each of the four cups of chocolate milk, a different professor spoke about Passover, from both a personal and an academic perspective. The Seder was a dazzling highlight in a bright spring season of events.
The Seder came at the end of a terrifically successful week in which we launched our new initiative: GUish. (Get it?) The slogan for GUish: There are many ways to be Jewish at Georgetown. What's your GUish?
The aim of GUish: to spread the word that Jewish life at Georgetown is for Jews of all backgrounds, interests, family makeup, level of observance—including nonobservance. The approach of GUish: Phase I: We gave examples of possible "GUishes" (Love/hate gefilte fish-ish; Hold-the-religion cultural-ish; Gotta-be-a-doctor-or-else-I'm-in-trouble-ish; Social justice driven-ish; Jewish history buff-ish; Half-and-half-ish; JewBu-ish). Then we asked students to choose one or add their own on a GUish card. We entered every submission into a lottery for a dinner with me and nine other students. The response was great. Phase II: We hired four student interns to do intensive follow-up, including one-on-one meetings with GUish-identified students and creating innovative, out-of-the-box (or as one intern said, out-of-the-pentagon) programs for the un- or marginally affiliated diverse Jewish students on campus.
In all, the year ended as beautifully as it began—with lots of energy and innovation, warmth and friendship to go around. Our program coordinator, Debbie Reichmann, made a beautiful plaque with the names of all the student leaders on it. It hangs in Makóm in the Leavey Center; do come see it. We had a lovely senior brunch sendoff, with gift-giving abundant. We celebrated the arrival of our wonderful furniture in Makóm, a gift from parents intended to make our new home so much more homey. We are grateful to the donors for the enhancement of our space.
I am so very thankful for my glorious first year here. I was tremendously supported, cared for, and welcomed by all.
Finally, I had the distinct privilege to give the closing blessing at the College Commencement, sending the students off with these words:
Baruch Ata Adonai, Ha Osey HaShalom (literally, Blessed are you G-d, Maker of peace. May you go in peace, and may you bring peace wherever you go).
And the same to the reader—until next fall.
Muslim Chaplaincy Sets the Tone for September
By Nazir Harb, Muslim Program Coordinator
The Muslim Chaplaincy continued to roll out new programming, special events and services this spring. In March, 13 Muslim students joined the Muslim Chaplaincy for its first-ever Alternative Spring Break service trip to Parkersburg, W.Va., where the team worked with Habitat for Humanity on two homes for needy families in the area. The Parkersburg community was very welcoming, and the Muslim Chaplaincy team is committed to maintaining strong ties with these families and the Habitat for Humanity office in West Virginia. The Muslim Chaplaincy is proud of our team for working through rain and snow to serve the community. We offer heartfelt mabrouk (congratulations) to our participants for being featured as homebuilders in multiple news articles. As men and women for others, each proactively promoted a positive perception of Muslims and Islam in America.
This spring, the new Franklin & Marshall University Muslim Student Association generously hosted the Georgetown Undergrad MSA students on their campus in Lancaster, PA, for our spring retreat. The retreat featured lectures by Georgetown's Imam Yahya Hendi and the University of Maryland's Imam Tarif Shraim. This was an important community-building experience that we hope to continue in the years to come.
In maintaining a commitment to the spirit of interfaithness, this spring the Muslim Chaplaincy supported a new initiative to explore the diversity within Islam. With several student leaders stepping forward, the Muslim Chaplaincy launched the Intra-faith Dialogue Initiative to increase mutual understanding of various schools of thought within Islam. To do this important topic justice, we invited the prominent scholar Sayyed Imam Hassan Qazwini to join the Georgetown community on April 23 for dinner and a public lecture on social justice and peace-building in Islam. Coming off of a tour of the Middle East that included Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Imam Qazwini discussed the importance of the Islamic value of honoring discrepancy and keeping peace. Both events "sold out"; every seat was reserved in advance and over 100 people attended.
The Muslim Chaplaincy collaborated this semester with Georgetown's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding to present the Islamic Learning Series facilitated and led by Imam Yahya Hendi. The first Islamic Seminar Series Lecture, an interactive Khutba training session, and the second session, on Hadith and Sunnah, were both a success. Undergraduate and graduate Hoyas as well as community members from the wider metropolitan area learned about the Islamic perspective on giving a sermon and how to assess the authority of a certain hadith/sunnah. The third and last Islamic Seminar for the spring semester focused on the interpretation and applications of the Quran in the 21st century. Attendance increased with each session, but we had an average of about 50 participants. We plan to continue these monthly sessions in the fall.
In April, the first edition of the Muslim Chaplaincy's new monthly newsletter, Manaara, was sent out to students and interested community members. "Manaara" is an Arabic word that connotes a "place or source of light" and "guidance." These are important Islamic values that will, insha'Allah (God willing), continue to help inform our programming and the content of this new publication from here on out.
A Greater and Expanded Presence
By V. Rev. Constantine White, Orthodox Chaplaincy Director
The spring semester for the Orthodox Christian Chaplaincy at Georgetown has been one filled with many blessings. One of greatest blessings was the presence of Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America during the first week of Lent in February. His Beatitude, who is a great supporter of Campus Ministry, served the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, which is a Eucharistic service held on weekdays of Lent. A Lenten meal was served afterward. This event gave us the opportunity to work with other faith traditions at Georgetown. Both Catholic and Protestant students, faculty and chaplains were present for the liturgy and meal. The meal (held in Makóm: a Jewish gathering space; thank you, Jewish Chaplaincy!) was sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry. This gave many students a chance to interact with an Orthodox bishop for the first time. The Metropolitan addressed those gathered at both the Liturgy and the meal. There was also a lengthy question and answer period, in which the enthusiasm of the students could be clearly seen.
We were able to increase our presence at Georgetown by increasing our weekly activities. On Mondays, Dr. Nicholas Jones led an informal class on Byzantine Liturgical Choral Conducting. We are extremely grateful to Dr. Jones for his willingness to volunteer his time and expertise for the benefit of Orthodox students who attended the class during the spring semester. In the fall there were a number of students who were not Orthodox interested in learning about the Orthodox faith, so I began an informal (i.e., not for credit) inquiry class, "Orthodoxy 101:Through the Divine Liturgy." I was pleased that attendance remained consistent right up until "study days" for exams started. This was truly wonderful, considering students received no credit for the class and were there in their free time.
Orthodox Easter was one week later than Catholic and Protestant Easter this year, so most students stayed on campus. Georgetown's Department of Public Safety always provides transportation for students to and from the two closest Orthodox churches for Midnight Easter Services. This shows an additional way in which the university is committed to serving Georgetown's various faith traditions. I really do not know of another institution of higher learning making the effort to serve as many faith traditions as Georgetown does, while always remaining true to its Catholic and Jesuit identity.
One of the greatest improvements in my years at Georgetown has been full-time use of an office this year. This has given me and the students who use the space as well much more capability to fulfill the Orthodox Christian ministry at Georgetown. It has also very much impressed the Orthodox constituency at Georgetown, as well as prospective Orthodox students and their families. I am very grateful to the Office of Campus Ministry for providing this space, which so greatly enhances the Orthodox Christian presence at Georgetown.
As always, our students are the center of our ministry. Regular attendance of 20 to 25 was not unusual at our Tuesday evening services. The Executive Board of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship was very active and so helpful in making our programs possible through student leadership. Unfortunately (or fortunately for them—Congratulations!), all of them graduated in May. Fortunately, we do have another excellent Executive Board in place for the 2012-13 academic year, and plans are for us to meet before the start of the school year. Many years and God's rich blessing to all those who completed their degrees—as all alumni know—not an easy thing to do.
I was privileged to receive the Vicennial medal in March, along with more than 30 others, marking 20-plus years of service to Georgetown. It has been my honor to serve as the Orthodox chaplain at Georgetown since 1986. It has a been a true blessing to see not only the Orthodox ministry grow, but the entire Office of Campus Ministry grow and thrive as well. Working with the other chaplains and their students has been nothing but a pure joy.
Mass Honors Contributions of Anatomical Donors
By Rev. Salvador Jordan, S.J., Director of Medical Center Campus Ministry
On May 24, I presided over a Mass attended by students and staff of the School of Medicine to honor anatomical donors and their families. Below is the welcome address given by Mark Norton, class president of first-year medical students, and a reflection on the event by Rabbi Rachel Gartner, who offered a blessing at the Mass.
Welcome Address by Mark Norton
We are joined today by the families and friends of many of our anatomical donors, whose loved ones willed to us their bodies, through which we gained new insights not only into science, but also into ourselves. This is a very special and important occasion, one that brings together two parties that have never met, however both parties have learned and have been enriched by the same individuals.
Upon entering medical school here at Georgetown, I found myself questioning the value of gross dissection. In a day and age where there seems to be a phone or a computer app for everything, I thought to myself, "There must be a faster and more efficient way to learn about human anatomy." Perhaps the hours and weeks spent in the anatomy lab would be better spent on other academic pursuits. I'm almost certain that many of my classmates had similar thoughts upon encountering the bodies of our donors on that first day. Today, however, all would agree that the time was well spent, and that working with natural subjects far outweighed relying on technology alone. But the valuable hands-on learning experience we gained is hardly a fraction of the entire story.
The anatomy lab, for the vast majority of us, was an introduction to what it means to be human—contemplating how fragile our existence and how awe-inspiring the human body really is. For all of us, our donors gave us an insight to their unique stories, each one important and each one dearly missed. Some with hands that no doubt had seen their fair share of hard work, and others so delicate, it was easy to imagine the warmth and care they must have shared through countless embraces. One thing that was common for all was the peaceful expression written on their faces. In acting as their final caretakers, our donors taught us to celebrate life, and to never forget the need for humanity and compassion in medicine—a lesson that could never be explained in any textbook or on any app.
In a profession that speaks often about selflessness and sacrifice, our donors defined what it really means to be selfless and what it really means to sacrifice. They knew nothing about us, and yet they dedicated their final act on this earth to share their most intimate possession with us in the hope that we would learn from them. Somehow, we were the privileged to learn from them in ways that no one else ever will, but we will never know their names and we will never get to tell them thank-you. This was our first true lesson on altruism, and is a lesson we will carry with us throughout our careers as doctors and nurses.
It is because of these lessons on humanity, selflessness, and sacrifice that I now understand why we continue the tradition of gross dissection. What we have learned from our donors will be carried with us as we gladly give our whole selves to the care of our patients in the future. We now understand that every person we touch deserves our compassion and our whole dedication, not simply to be cured, but to live and die with dignity. And this is the reason why we are here today—to celebrate the lives of those whom many of us knew only in death, but were still significantly touched by.
To our guests today, those who knew our donors in their health and sickness, we hope to share with you a few things. We wish to express our gratitude for your loved ones' priceless gift to us. We wish to share our humility, that we would be chosen to receive their most valuable possession and entrusted to care for them. And we wish to promise that we will think of their selfless sacrifice as we enter our new careers, not just as physicians and nurses, but, more importantly, as human beings.
Reflection from Rabbi Rachel Gartner
Honestly, as I shared before offering my blessing there, the ceremony was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life.
Families of donors came together with the medical students who learned through the bodies of their loved ones. The reverence and gratitude expressed by the students was so profoundly moving.
Truly, this event was a deep, deep blessing to behold. Everyone should witness it at some point if you can.
Read a Washington Post article about this event here.
Chaplains in Balance
By Michael Goldman, Esq., Director of Law Center Campus Ministry
It is no secret that the practice of law creates stress—too much stress, and that lawyers rank near the bottom in wellness indicators—disproportionate numbers of divorce, substance abuse, depression and other dysfunctions. Given Georgetown's commitment to cura personalis, the care and education of the whole person, Campus Ministry believed something had to be done and done soon.
For several years, the Medical Center had been dealing with similar stress-related problems with doctors and medical students. To address that problem, it developed its Mind Body Medicine Program. The course used principles of mindfulness and self-awareness to assist aspiring doctors to care for themselves. Medical Center Chaplain Michael Goldman, who co-facilitated the Mind Body Program, believed that law students would benefit from something similar. With much help from the creator of the mind-body course, Nancy Harazduk, and with the strong support at the law school from Associate Dean Carol O'Neil, who died in 2010, Dean of Students Mitchell Bailin, Director of Residence Life Carol Walsh and Director Public Service Careers Lauren Dubin, the Mind Body Program was modified to become the Lawyers in Balance (LIB) seminar.
Reviews from the LIB pilot session speak for themselves:
This has been one of the most incredible, life-changing courses for me. I cannot speak highly enough or devote the time to discuss in enough detail all the positive changes in my life, nearly all of which I attribute to this course.
In answer to the question whether this course should be part of the law school curriculum, participating students responded:
Yes—this would change the lives of so many law students in a positive place and make Georgetown an even more happy/productive place to go to school.
Yes—absolutely! Lawyers are people and learning to cope with the nuances of life make one a better counselor at law.
Yes—[It] would be a much-needed change for the better to have a course that appreciates students as people and acknowledges the need for emotional and lifestyle balance.
Since the pilot four-plus years ago, LIB has continued to thrive. Roughly eight additional law school facilitators have been trained, including Father Alexei Michalenko, another Georgetown Law Chaplain. All eight have conducted LIB seminars for students, staff, administrators and faculty. The rave reviews have continued, and many students insist on extending their mindfulness work beyond the one-semester seminar. We have held several installments of LIB II (a second-semester offering), and students and staff still want more. In fact, the students organized their own Contemplative Law Society this year, by which they are expanding students' options and opportunities in this growing field.
The eight-week seminar allows students (five to 10 per seminar) to sample a number of mindfulness techniques, such as sitting, walking and eating meditations, autogenic stress reduction, journaling and guided imagery. After each technique is tried, the students are encouraged to process (reflect upon) the experience and to practice it at home. The LIB seminar takes place in a "safe place," with complete confidentiality. Participants are encouraged to expand and explore their self-awareness and, to the extent they are comfortable, to share that awareness with their group. As the reviews and feedback indicate, the students are enthusiastic about the course and believe it has greatly improved law school for them. They cite improvements in listening skills, a decrease in exam anxiety, and as seen above, an overall improvement in quality of life.
Campus Ministry is delighted to be part of LIB, reflecting Georgetown's continuing commitment to cura personalis.
Supporting Mission and Ministry
All of the programs described in this issue are enhanced by gift support. If you would like to make a gift to help a specific chaplaincy or program, or the overall effort, you may do so online at: http://advancement.georgetown.edu/giving/ministry.
If you would like more information on supporting any of these programs, please contact Mary Prahinski (C'85), Director of Development for Mission and Ministry, at 202-687-6671 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jul 30, 12:10pm: Feast of St. Ignatius Mass and Luncheon
- Aug 26, 9am: New Jewish Student Bagel Brunch
- Aug 26, 9am: Welcome Mass
- Aug 26, 9am-11am: Protestant NSO Worship Service and Breakfast
- Aug 26, 9:30am-11am: Muslim Chaplaincy Welcoming Brunch
- Aug 28, 12pm: Mass of the Holy Spirit
- Aug 31, 11am-1:30pm: Campus Ministry Open House
- Aug 31, 1:30pm-2:30pm: Muslim Chaplaincy Welcome Back Jum'ah Prayer Service
- Aug 31, 6:30pm-8pm: First Shabbat of Fall 2012
- Sep 2, 5pm: Opening Protestant Worship Service and Dessert
- Sep 9, All day: Welcome Back Sunday